Abiding in Christ
Based on John 15
By Lynn Wallace
A grape vine flourishes because it depends on the vine. Cut off its branch and it withers and dies. The secret of its abundance depends upon its connection to the vine.
Christ Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). Like a grape vine, when I decide I’m going to do it myself, my usefulness comes to an end.
When I depend on Jesus Christ moment by moment, my life will bring forth fruit. He is my sustenance.
Walk as Christ Walked
Do you claim to abide in Christ? God says, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6).
How can we do this? We find the instructions in Ephesians 4.
First, God commands, “Put off the old man.” This means we will quit lying, stealing, speaking vulgarities, holding a bitter spirit, losing our temper, and plotting against others.
Put on the New Man
Second God commands, “Put on the new man.” This refers to a spiritual renewal of the way we think. The Holy Spirit renews us as we yield to Christ. As He renews our mind, we can know God’s will.
Instead of lying we will speak truth to others. Sometimes we lie to get out of trouble. However, we end up getting into more trouble. We speak of little white lies. In God’s eyes all lying is sin; white lies do not exist.
Instead of stealing we will engage in honest labor. We will share what we have with those in real need. We will be honest in our speech and in our actions. God wants men and women of integrity.
Instead of losing our temper, we will become cool-tempered. Ephesians 4 26 says, “Be ye angry and sin not.” How can we vent our anger without sinning? This kind of anger is often called “righteous indignation.” This means getting angry at the sin, not the sinner. God loves sinners, but He hates their sin. We cannot do this in our own strength, but only in the power of the Spirit.
Instead of speaking evil, vulgar things we will utter gracious words out of our mouths. This kind of speech builds up others; it does not tear them down.
Instead of bitterness in our hearts we will harbor a forgiving spirit. Some of us have said, “I will never forgive that person.” God can give us the grace to forgive. Unforgiveness is sin and holds back answers to our prayers. What a terrible price to pay!
Instead of malice we will foster a spirit of kindness and love. “Be ye kind one to another....Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us” (Eph. 4:32; 5:2).
God will renew our inward man daily. Our afflictions here work for us an eternal weight of glory. God does this for us as we look up to Him and focus on spiritual, not temporal things (2 Cor. 4:16-18). Then let us look up to Jesus Christ and trust Him to walk the walk.